Marblehead’s lacrosse team dominated the second half to overcome a scrappy Peabody team on Thursday. The Magicians defended their home diamond with a 16-4 victory.
Although they won by double digits, things were close at half (5-2). Both teams were physical and with Marblehead having three games in four days, it had to rely on its depth.
“We were a little slow to start the game, which we expected,” Marblehead coach John Wilkens said. “We had a big win yesterday and played three games in four days, so we expected a slow start, but I’m proud of how the guys picked it up in the second half.”
The saying “play until you hear the buzzer” was apparent, as Marblehead’s offense patiently waited to establish itself and attack Peabody’s defense.
Talk about a highlight. In the third, the ball found senior superstar Connor Cronin who forced his way past two defenders. Cronin lost the ball for a quick second, but recovered to score at the buzzer of the third quarter – one that ended 9-3 in favor of the hosts.
“Connor had five goals today. That’s what leaders do,” Wilkens said. “He’s a gamer. He’s a little banged up right now, so a few days off will do him justice.”
Marblehead scored 10 unanswered stemming from the third quarter to the final two minutes of the fourth. Peabody coach Jason Marshall believes fatigue caught up with his guys.
“I thought we played pretty good,” Marshall said. “We were with them the entire game and just got a little gassed at the end. We’re down a few guys, so when you don’t have a lot of guys to cycle through, you get gassed pretty easily.”
When asked what was different between the first and second half offensively, Wilkens said his team just needed “a spark.”
“We threw a couple of new guys out there in the second half,” Wilkens said. “Toby Grenier on faceoffs did a great job as a freshman. He gave us the spark we needed.”
Those all-important sparks gave the Magicians everything they needed, and despite the loss, Marshall was pleased with how his Tanners battled.
“We played a strong three quarters against a very strong team – not too much to be mad about,” Marshall said. “Come the fourth quarter, it was just a lot of fatigue.”
Marshall highlighted his goalie, Antonio Anzalone, who finished the game with 13 saves.
“He’s a fantastic player. He just picked goalie up this year when our starting goalie hurt his arm right before the season,” Marshall said. “I’ve never seen someone pick up any position, let alone goalie, that quickly. He’s made a lot of big saves for us this year, especially again today.”
Wilkens was happy with his team’s mental fortitude.
“Today was more of a mental game,” Wilkens said. “Our guys were tired from yesterday – emotionally and physically. They just had to dig in today and they did.”